A must for every entrepreneur
Build from Scratch, Vineet Bajpai, Jaico Books, Pp 242, Rs 299.00
Written by a successful entrepreneur. who founded MAGNON/TBWA and MAGNON E-Graphics and received the Asia-Pacific Entrepreneurship Award 2011 and CNBC TV Mercedes Benz Award, this handbook shows the path to those who the hope to make it big in the corporate sector and become that ‘someone’ by breaking the rules to push for the impossible. In a step-by-step narrative on how professionals with no or minimal financial backing, or business background or cutting-edge technology, but with a strong resolution and fire in their bellies, can build and promote their venture, this book provides a serious, systematic and realistic approach towards launching an entrepreneurial project in the contemporary business environment. Meant for aspiring entrepreneurs, it shows how to enter the existing and gritty world of institution-building, risk, determination and high returns.
The author says the ‘licence Raj’ in India is long over and the ‘90s saw a powerful shift towards global business patterns. Geographical boundaries are no longer a hurdle in international trade and the Indian government is rapidly deregulating many sectors, including key areas, such as power and telecom. This, however, does not prevent us from accepting that the last one year has however dampened the ‘India story’ due to rampant corruption and coalition-induced policy paralysis, making foreign investors wary of investing their money in Indian industry.
He begins his observations on the premise that a successful entrepreneur must first of all possess the dominant ingredient, that is, the human will, before going on to discuss critical types of idea generation, fund-raising, venture capital, go-to-market strategies and leadership. As would be expected, he explores the human aspects of beginning an enterprise – the struggle, the ambition and the perseverance, while stressing on availability of finance, on-the-move infrastructure, outreach to global markets and finally, widespread acceptance and commercial use of the Internet for both starting and finalising one’s journey towards one’s dream.
While making a pertinent point in reference to finance to start a venture, the author talks of family-owned businesses which were inspiring examples of entrepreneurial energy and corporate turnaround. Though this sort of lineage can be an advantage today but it is not a prerequisite because the Government is actively promoting new businesses, while the private sector is emerging “as a vibrant industry for entrepreneurial ventures”. This combination of state support and private players is empowering young professionals to enter the corporate playground without hailing from business families or having financial back-up through inheritance.
The author points to the advantages available today due to communication revolution brought about through the cell phone, fax, copier, printer, etc. which were not available some years ago to people conducting businesses. It was only after 1991 that some large Asian and Latin American countries, call centres, BPOs and other export-oriented businesses began to run on the foundation of strong international acceptability. This gave birth to new and revolutionary business models that were not seen “as recently as ten years ago,” says the author. He adds, “IT-enabled services, which are part of one of the sunshine industries of the Asian economy today” are a direct outcome of this century.
Finally widespread commercial use of both is the driving force for overcoming barriers that remained in the way of “seamless domestic or international commerce”. The author states that while offering an unprecedented medium of communication, branding, cataloguing, knowledge exchange, etc., the Internet has enabled Indian companies to compete in international markets without having to create a physical presence or set up marketing offices abroad.
Here is a book for young entrepreneurs providing some street-smart advice along with realistic and down-to-earth strategies.
Status of Elderly Women in India, V Mohini Giri, Gyan Publishing House, Pp 281, Rs 850.00
This is a compilation of 24 essays by social activist Mohini Giri. The essays are written by renowned scholars and social activists to address issues that cover elderly women in India, particularly their rights, safety and protection, mainstreaming and capacity building, self-reliance, nutritional status and health care. With the increase in the longevity of senior citizens, their population is increasing and this entails the need for their care and nurture and utilisation of their potential for improving the degeneration of cultural values among the young.
Justice VR Krishna Iyer says in his paper that the more the people live to older age, the more their dependence increases on younger people, who in their turn, prefer to go abroad to lead their own lives. They leave their elders to fend for themselves. He says, “Unless new laws are made, the existing laws for the elderly become highly futile.”
MC Bhandare says old age marks the end of the life cycle but it is associated with wisdom and enlightenment. So the “youth of today can gain from their rich experience in taking the nation to greater heights. The society must respect them and learn from their invaluable experience.”
Vidyaben Shah’s advice is directed only at the elders. She tells them to engage in meaningful activities, help and guide the young, make friends, participate in group activities, ensure their financial security and most of all “prepare a ‘Living Will’ and entrust it to a lawyer or a trusted family member or friend, outlining how he wishes to be treated when he is ill and unable to take a sound decision at that point.”
Dr Sheilu Sreenivasan talks of her experiences in Mumbai and cites the case of a person who took to learning Sanskrit and obtained a degree at the age of 75. In another instance, she says, 663 senior citizens in collaboration with Bombay Municipal Corporation got engaged in helping to keep Mumbai clean.
Dr Vasantha R Patri gives certain tips to both the young and the old and these include, for instance, the young should be forgiven for errors while the old should allow for differences; the young must compromise and the elders should be tolerant; the young should avoid controlling while the elders should avoid running their children’s lives.
MM Sabharwal says that since the population of the older persons in more developed regions of India is growing at a faster rate than in some rural regions and since ageing is inevitable, irreversible and progressive, a policy should be formulated so that older persons remain active and the “young old” take care of the “oldest old”. He further adds that the social and legal institutions should assist the “young old” caregivers to de-stress and take on the responsibility of their elders.
Dr Mohini Giri, who has set up the Ma-Dham at Vrindavan for widows and the destitute, calls for prevention of disabilities and chronic diseases, for education in informal careers, for ensuring safety and dignity of the aged and enabling them to contribute to their own economic development.
Dr Kavim V Bhatanagar says that women and the working poor in the informal sector in suburban and rural India are highly vulnerable to old age poverty and should be taught to make preparations for future and not depend on their children to support them.
Dancer Shovana Narayan talks of the role of dance in countering the ageing process and also in keeping oneself occupied in old age.
One of he best articles is by painter Angolie Ela Menon who cites the case of MFHusain who was full of vital energy and continued painting right till his end and then talks of herself and how she keeps herself busy at 72 by indulging in painting and “only pray that the muse will not desert me.”
(The reviewer is former editor of National Book Trust)